Feuer Accelerator team able to tap Department of Homeland Security startup resources

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

FedTech to provide educational and commercialization support to maintain momentum of UH tech developed with NASA Glenn Research Center and supported by UH Ventures’ Feuer Innovation Accelerator


CLEVELAND – A University Hospitals research team, which recently presented its unique, high-level disinfection system at the Homeland Security Startup Studio’s (HSSS) Converge event, received news that it is moving to an ”alumni” phase of the program that encourages company formation and commercialization of technology.

UH first developed and tested the disinfection system, dubbed HAADS, to disinfect personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UH was one of 10 research centers nationwide and the only health system chosen to participate in the 2023 HSSS program.  HSSS launched in 2021 as a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate and FedTech, a venture firm that supports federal labs, research institutions, universities, and corporations. HSSS aims to accelerate and deliver commercial applications of federally funded technologies to meet homeland security needs.

As a result of its success in the HSSS program, the UH HAADS team will have full access to the DHS S&T-sponsored alumni support program, which includes FedTech advisory services, coaching, and workshops to assist the team in advancing the technology further into the commercial market, focused on the specific needs of homeland security end users.

HAADS uses a modification of an atomic oxygen (or oxygen free radicals) approach to disinfection.  UH researchers Shine Raju, MD, and Amitra John, MD, with support from UH Ventures’ Feuer Innovation Accelerator, developed the system in collaboration with NASA Glenn Research Center.

“Drs. Raju and John’s technology was developed to help our health system and community during the pandemic, and they carried over that driving energy during our internal innovation accelerator to explore commercialization potential beyond UH,” said Allison Hart, Lead Innovation Strategist with UH Ventures and program manager of the Feuer Innovation Accelerator. “We are happy HSSS has initially validated the potential of HAADS outside of our system and are very proud of our UH innovators.”

The technology delivers high-level disinfection quickly without the use of chemicals, reducing the potential for spreading infection and simplifying the cleaning process. Drs. Raju and John are currently working on a second-generation prototype with the goal of making high-level disinfection available outside of health care settings.

“HAADS is a technological platform that is highly effective, while also being environmentally friendly,” said Dr. Raju, a specialist in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine who is board-certified in internal medicine, critical care medicine, and pulmonary disease. “The HAADS device is currently in its early prototype stage, and further validation and product development are needed for broad-based use. We are incredibly happy with the positive results so far and look forward to our partnership with UH Ventures and FedTech to further develop HAADS.”

“HAADS as a technology is fast and scalable, which makes it unique,” said Dr. John, a specialist from the same division who is board-certified in internal medicine, infectious disease, and critical care medicine. “Further iterations of the prototype will focus on modularity and portability, which will allow for widespread applications.” Already, the HAADS system has been shown to be effective in high-level disinfection of N95 masks. However, Kipum Lee, PhD, Vice President, Innovation & Product Strategy at UH Ventures, said that may be just the beginning of how this technology could be implemented.

“A self-contained and automated disinfection system that builds on the method first used to disinfect spaceships, this technology has potential for varied applications in commercial and residential use,” he said. “It’s safe, dry, fast, cost-effective, portable, scalable, and environmentally friendly. The combination of these dimensions can solve some of the persistent problems of infection control in various venues such as daycare centers, sports facilities, cruise ships, and/or military applications. HSSS was a great opportunity to advance Drs. Raju and John’s invention one step further on the journey from a validated prototype to a viable product.”

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